This limestone gorge in the Mendip Hills near the village of Cheddar in Somerset is 137 m (449 ft) at its deepest point. To the south, the cliff face is near-vertical; while to the north, there are steep grassy slopes. A huge diversity of fauna thrives in the gorge, including birds such as peregrine falcons, buzzards and kestrels. There are also rare flora such as the Cheddar Pink and a unique species of whitebeam.
The many caves are home to colonies of Greater and Lesser horseshoe bats; and there are two show caves, Gough’s Cave and the smaller Cox’s Cave, where the earliest complete human skeleton found in the UK was discovered in 1903.
For climbers, there are around 350 graded climbs, open annually from 1 October and 15 March. A clifftop walk runs along the crest of gorge and back to the road, providing stunning views; and descent into the gorge is possible via Jacob’s Ladder, which runs for 275 steps. At the top of these steps, a watchtower offers panoramic views of countryside around.